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October 11, 2010

Campaign Diary On The Trail Surprises

Michael Kurtianyk

Out campaigning to be a county commissioner is hard work. Not everyone will agree with you, but most are pleasant and welcoming. However, I have noticed several things that have struck me as different or unexpected.


…County leaders and division directors are willing to discuss specific ideas about issues concerning Frederick County residents. This is true whether you’re a candidate or not. I’ve contacted some of our municipal leaders also asking about issues pertaining to their region, and everyone has been willing to engage and share their ideas with me


…As autumn continues, and the days grow shorter, I am going to sleep earlier than ever. Whereas earlier this year I could stay up until well past midnight, I am now going to sleep closer to 10:30/11pm. Yes, I am increasing my daily workload, but the cooler weather, I think, has something to do with it.


…When it comes to the format, no two forums are the same. I participated in three forums last week. This first was just for the Democrat candidates, held at Café 611, and coordinated by the United Democrats of Frederick County. The five candidates for county commissioner were each given two minutes to answer the same question. Then, a separate question was directed to each of us. We had two minutes to answer, and the other candidates were given one minute to comment, respond or rebut. At the end, we were each asked the same question.


The next forum was held by the Land Use Council, and all ten candidates for county commissioner participated. Instead of being given time to answer each question, and then respond, we were each asked the same question. However, we could only answer “yes”, “no”, or “pass.” It was unique, to say the least. We weren’t allowed to expand on our answers. After each of us answered the questions, each was given up to three minutes to say anything, with the emphasis on expanding our earlier answers. I’d never participated in this type of format, and it was great fun. The only suggestion I made to the organizers afterwards was to eliminate the “pass” response, and allow us one sentence to explain how we answered. Overall, a good forum.


The third forum was a luncheon held by the Frederick County Association of Realtors, and nine of us were there (Paul Smith had a commitment he couldn’t break). Five of us sat on one side with the same question, and the other four sat on the other side of the podium for their question. We were given two minutes to answer, and one minute to respond to the question that was answered by the other side.


Thankfully, none of us had to introduce ourselves, as many of the earlier forums had us do. We get tired of talking about ourselves, or rather, I do I won’t speak for the others. I liked that the forums last week didn’t ask us for introductions and ending remarks.


….We desperately need more affordable housing in Frederick County. I had the good fortune of visiting a celebration of World Habitat Day at a Madison Street lot, which is the next Habitat for Humanity project. The celebration kicked off the start of a duplex for a mother and her daughters, and a Katrina survivor. According to Ron Cramer, executive director of Habitat, said that we need 335 more affordable homes in Frederick County to meet the need. This duplex is barely a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start. We need to do more.


…I am very proud of my family for being so supportive as we get closer to the election. I miss my daughters in the evenings while I’m out campaigning, and I thank my wife Brenda for all she’s done.


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